Maths Scholar Mandy Arthur considers student centred learning
When I saw this topic and volunteered myself in a heartbeat, I was convinced I’d write about how I would make teaching Mathematics more consistent, i.e. fewer changes! But in the past 4 days I have been hooked on watching TED talks about Student Centred Learning.
Personally I can relate to Shelly Wright, I love planning lessons to the last detail and expect students to ‘DO AS I SAY!’ However, I find myself asking, ‘Are my students really learning here?’ ‘What’s the point of learning Projectiles & Velocity if they can’t use it for Egg Drop?’ Heavily influenced by Mystery and Sci-fi TV series, I’d spent a significant few years of my life trying to formulate an equation backed by statistics on how to be a millionaire by the age of 17/18/23/25/30. I am 26 and would appreciate any positive input. The point is - that’s the Maths I enjoy and would spend hours doing.
We’ve heard ‘Let’s make Maths fun!’, ‘Put some more work into progress tracking’ or ‘Plan your lessons better’. Are we working hard enough? What about letting our students run the show? Maybe it’s the lazy teacher within me talking but I am intrigued at the idea of letting students know that their learning ‘Geometry’ and also that they have to go out into the world and formulate learning conclusions. Sure! There may be students who just don’t do anything to start with. We all know what it’s like to fear failure and not try at all. But what if a student creates a step by step plan on how to build a VR headset from recycled cardboard? Or builds a kaleidoscope that picks a random shape and encourages their peers to list its features? All of a sudden, there’s over twenty lesson plans for one topic and you worked half as hard as you would on one!
So to answer the question, I would train and support teachers to implement ‘Mathematics learnt by students, from student ideas, for student successes’ beyond the four walls of school. Maybe if they came up with the lesson plan, there’d be less disruption and more engagement. Teachers would truly be ‘learning facilitators’ and I am convinced it would prepare our students for the future. It sure would make my job easier right now!
Mandy Arthur is a current Maths Scholar and if her words have spurred you on to start considering applying then why not find some answers regarding how to apply to be a Maths Scholar and get into teaching in September 2017.